Jimmy Fallon, ‘Tonight Show’ Still Rolling in Ratings

Jimmy Fallon, 'Tonight Show' Still Rolling

Jimmy Kimmel posted gains with a week of shows from Austin, but his ABC latenight show was still no match for NBC’s “Tonight Show,” which remains dominant one month into the run of new host Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon was expected to be the latenight ratings leader as host of “Tonight,” but the margin by which he is still winning in adults 18-49 after four weeks is a bit surprising.

According to Nielsen estimates for the week of March 10-14, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” averaged a 1.32 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 — topping the combined scores of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (0.76/3) and CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” (0.55/2). “Tonight” retained 99% of its week-earlier demo rating (1.32 vs. 1.34).

Versus the same night last year with Jay Leno as host, “Tonight” was up 81% in adults 18-49 while Kimmel grew 31% (from its repeats of a year ago) and Letterman was down 15%.

In total viewers, “Tonight Show” also dominated, with its 4.26 million well ahead of Kimmel (2.83 million) and Letteman (2.78 million). Fallon was up vs. Leno a year ago by 27% in total viewers, a smaller gain than he’s seeing in the demo because Leno’s audience had an older skew and included lots of viewers 50 and older.

Kimmel delivered its best numbers since mid-November, and was up 33% in total viewers from last year’s week of repeats. The final show from Austin on Friday averaged 3.46 million viewers, making it “JKL’s” third most-watched telecast ever — behind only the Matt Damon takeover episode in January 2013 and the night last month of “Scandal’s” return.

Following “The Tonight Show” on NBC, the third week of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” scored gains vs. the same week last year when Fallon was host — up 35% in 18-49 (0.69 rating vs. 0.51) and 14% in total viewers (1.94 million vs. 1.70 million). Meyers retained 97% of his week-two rating in 18-49 (0.69 vs. 0.71) and 93% in total viewers (1.94 million vs. 2.07 million).

“Late Night” finished well ahead of its primary 12:35-1:35 a.m. competition, CBS’ “Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson” (0.34 rating in 18-49, 1.94 million viewers overall). It also topped ABC’s “Nightline” (0.45 rating in 18-49, 1.69 million viewers overall), which airs from 12:35 to 1:05 a.m.

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  1. sarah barkers says:

    why should i watch, i am 60 and not counted!

  2. Here is a comparison of Jimmy Fallon’s, Jimmy Kiimmel’s and David Letterman’s overnight 18-49 ratings, based in the top 25 markets.


  3. M.P.Nolan says:

    If Fallon is funny then we have a problem. His attempt at humor smacks more of kindergarten….I guess this must be the executives view of their world.

    • transitionsuccess says:

      Can’t figure out what you’re missing. Fallon is funny, charming, and genuine. Maybe you don’t think he’s funny b/c he’s not snarky?

  4. Jeff Canose says:

    The big difference I see between Leno and Fallon is that Fallon wants to be the star of the show, including the star of every act. He participates in everything his guests do and seems to find it hard to let his guests have the limelight by themselves. Fallon is definitely a very talented host, including as a musician and an impersonator. Nevertheless, I still prefer the Leno format versus the Saturday-Night-Live format that Fallon seems to be following, where the host participates in most every skit. (Is Lorne Michaels backstage?) Also, don’t think the Roots can hold a candle to the Ricky Minor band of the Leno Show, but that’s another issue to be discussed later.

    • Sam Buxton says:

      I watched and enjoyed The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. However, the Tonite Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is my last choice among the current late night talk shows. I’m not sure what happened. Perhaps it’s simply the word “starring”. Fallon, to me, has turn into a raging egomaniac! I agree with Jeff Canose. Jimmy seems to be determined to one up all his guests. I guess I’m used to talk show hosts having at least a fake interest in what their guests are saying. Fallon has an annoying habit of taking what little he lets his guests say and turning it around on himself and then telling a story about himself. I’ve wanted to get two stop watches to time the amount of time the guests speak and the amount of time the host speaks during the so called interviews. I feel it would be around 75/25, host to guest. We’ve all known those people that ask you how your doing and then almost before you can finish your first sentence they starting talking about themselves. That’s the Tonite show Starring Jimmy Fallon! Annoying!

  5. heidi says:

    wow i had no idea that being a major philanthropist is society and a genuine nice family man got you so much flack from the public? Jimmy Fallon has paid his dues working his way up in his career. He is very humble and seems star struck in interviews, because he truly is. He is a down to earth family guy. That geeky nerd everyone ignored in high school and hes still going with it. Its who he is, its not that he doesn’t know hes rich and famous. its just that hes not going to change his personality to reflect his bank account.

  6. Mavis McCall says:

    I adored Jay Leno. I will miss his monologues and regular features (i.e. Headlines) for a long time. Jimmy Fallon is from the younger generation, which is okay. He is multi-talented, and, for the most part, uses his energies well. A part of his show that I just can’t deal with is his announcer and sidekick, Steve Higgins interjecting “humor” into the first part of the show. I am sure that Steve is a talented writer and has paid his dues on TV, but he just isn’t very funny. Recently, Jimmy himself commented that something Steve said was “creepy”. Steve also injects sound effects and goofy opinions which don’t seem to fit very well. In my view, it should be the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and not the Tonight Show with banter and strange side comments by Steve Higgins. Jimmy can be very entertaining on his own. A part of me also resents that Jay Leno was retired because of his age. Now we have to endure someone quite a bit older than the host who makes random comments that contribute little to the entertainment of the program. I like Jimmy, but would watch the show more often if Steve would be the announcer only.

  7. Rick Panozzo says:

    Jimmy Fallon its rocking th
    e New Tonight Show I think he will continue to dominate the ratings. Rock on Jimmy!!

  8. transitionsuccess says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. They were an AMAZING combination. Joel is just not as demonstrative, but it was clearly planned in advance. Btw, I made in error in my original post…. the song I referred to should not have been “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.. Rather it should be “You May be Right, I May be Crazy”

    • M.P.Nolan says:

      What will you do when Fallon becomes fallon….a little man with limited talent.

      • transitionsuccess says:

        You gotta be kidding me. There isn’t anything Fallon can’t do… how many late night hosts can sing with Springsteen, McCartney, Joel, etc. , make people smile with his genuine wide-eyed enthusiasm, and do sketch comedy?

  9. VE Larson says:

    I’ve watched both performances of J.Fall and Billy Joel. Billy looked like he was having a good time. He knew J.Fall was just kidding around on the end song. I thought Billy’s expression did not convey anger at JF, but rather astonishment at how well he was rocking the song…because Jimmy SO rocked that song.

  10. Joan Azarva says:

    Re: Lakawak’s comment:

    “Tonight’s show with Billy Joel is going to annoy many people. IT was absolutely DISGUSTING that way Fallon took over Billy Joel’s performance at the end. And while Joel politely smiled, he looked pretty pissed. Fallon wants to be more like Carson,…well, Johnny would never even THINK to take the spotlight from one of his guests”

    I LOVE Jimmy Fallon, but I do understand where you’re coming from. Fallon haters like you are going to take your words and run with them. But as you know, there are 2 sides to every story. In this case, I think Jimmy’s producers made a huge mistake last night.

    It’s obvious that Fallon and Joel rehearsed and Jimmy had Billy’s approval for the duet. Yes Jimmy improvises, but please….he would NEVER disrespect a guest. He is arguably the kindest nighttime talk show host who also happens to be the most versatile. The fact that he’s funny, sings, and dances makes him a triple threat, and that’s what makes him SO MUCH FUN to watch. He truly hits his goal of putting a smile on my face before I go to bed.

    But last night his producers failed him. As I was watching, I cringed. I KNEW there’d be people like you who’d say….It’s all about him.” Just the fact that you could say he “took over” and stole the spotlight tells me you haven’t watched Jimmy long enough to understand him.

    This is what SHOULD have gone down:

    Joel should have started “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and motioned for Jimmy to join him. Fallon could have had his “deer in the headlights” look that’s so funny and endearing and reluctantly gone to the mike. He could have started tentatively and then built to that crazy crescendo.

    I’m not a producer (although my son once was), but to me this was a no-brainer. Just as Jimmy is sensitive about casting his guests in the best light, his producers should be cognizant of misconceptions viewers might have about Jimmy as a result of their decisions.

    By the way, I was lucky enough to score a ticket for Jimmy’s monologue rehearsal in NY yesterday. I came in from Philadelphia specifically for it. I can truly say he was hysterical and a true gentleman. There was nothing pretentious at all about him, although with his rocket success, one might expect he’d have “attitude”. He didn’t come off as any more important that the security guards who sat us. His parents did a damn good job.

    Now, if I could only get tickets to see the ENTIRE show, I’d go to bed ecstatic.

  11. mixtapemasterjipc says:

    Haha, the most interesting part of this article is the comments. I’m a woman and I have had a boner for Jimmy Fallon since SNL so my opinion is going to be biased of course.


  12. Fawning over celebrities like a teenage groupie; going on about how tight he is with overexposed media-tarts; laughing uproariously at everything everyone on his show says, including himself, as if it’s the funniest thing ever; badly performed medleys of 90s rap songs passing as humor; comedy with zero edge; hawking show biz without a hint of irony or wit: Watching Jimmy Fallon is like watching a cross between the worst a**kisser at your office stroking the boss and having a pushy, pinheaded salesperson giving you the “hard sell.” He’s the perfect Leno heir.

  13. Sharon Hodges says:

    Should have hired Jimmy Kimmel OR put Questlove behind the desk and Fallon on the drums. Questlove is a whole lot more entertaining than Fallon.

  14. I am reading a lot of Hate in the posts below mine and I wonder why. If you want to be entertained and you do not like comedy then watch shows like Blacklist, NCIS, and Hawaii 5 0 or whatever that has VIOLENCE and negatvity continuoulsy. And, maybe you are all jealous that you did not get a chance at the Tonight show at such a young age. He is fantastic. Jimmy Fallon has more talent in his pinky than most people do in a lifetime. AND, don’t watch it…turn the channel and keep your opionions to yourself unlses you think you can ADD something to someone’s day with your comments. GEEZ such poor attitudes. Maybe you ARE ALL STAYING UP PAST YOUR BEDTIME and ARE CROUCHY :)

  15. lakawak says:

    Tonight’s show with Billy Joel is going to annoy many people. IT was absolutely DISGUSTING that way Fallon took over Billy Joel’s performance at the end. And while Joel politely smiled, he looked pretty pissed. Fallon wants to be more like Carson,…well, Johnny would never even THINK to take the spotlight from one of his guests. He had more class than that and knew that as host, the first 20 minutes (monologue and first segment’s comedy segment) were for him. The rest of the show were for guests. And to get up on the piano and then roll around on the floor like a high school kid? Jimmy…you are 38 years old. Not 18. And there is not one single Billy Joel fan who tuned in that wanted to hear YOU sing You May Be Right.

    • stefan harris says:

      I agree , i think fallon has a great gig going, but tonight he totally trashed Billy Joel…..there’s a right time to do music parody, and this definitely was NOT that time, his 1st apperance in what 15 yrs on late nite….pathethic self props Fallon, you owe Billy and your audience an apology.

  16. lakawak says:

    The difference is, Kimel’s ratings are rising. Fallon’s are dropping every week and show no sign of settling in any time soon. I realize the Olympics made the first week artificially high, but I am sure NBC expect him to hold on to more than half his first week audience, and he is already down from that.

  17. Iris says:

    I’m guessing most of you naysayers are men — as Jimmy Fallon’s critics often are. Many men, clearly, don’t understand the spell this guy puts over women. Personally, I like how comfortable he makes his guests, his hilarious improv moments and antics, how infectious his enthusiasm is and how, he’s, all around, lovable and adorable. Watching him is one of the most pleasurable experiences, ever. I don’t just settle into watching him before bed, I look forward to his show. And dang, is he ever gorgeous — really,mesmerizingly good looking.Why is anyone surprised he’s doing so well?

  18. Raj Gupta says:

    I love Jimmy Fallon, but his Tonight show is nothing more than a pathetic joke. He has made a mockery of an institution like the Tonight Show. Being a true loyal fan of the show for over 20 years, I have watched every single show of Fallon, but the whole thing is just ridiculous & at times, I am not sure whether to laugh or cry at their mediocracy.

    He is fast losing his faithful viewer base and honestly, I am struggling to understand what’s in it for the younger audience they are trying so hard to appeal to. The sidekick is as annoying as they get, the monologue is a “joke” and the writers need to start looking for another career and last but not the least, the smart pants at NBC who made this decision need to take a hard look in the mirror and think what they have done. In any other corporate environment they would be looking for a job.

    & of course, being a long time fan of this show, seems like the audience are paid to show up & show their enthusiasm.

    Shame on the powers to be. Jimmy, my friend – you have lost a fan & an admirer. Pull up your socks, get out of buffoonery, get rid of the sidekick & maintain the Rich tradition of this institution. This is from a true fan of the show.


  19. Things that get me mad! March madness. When people blow their nose in a restaurant , it seems that I can picture their snots.NASTY ! They act so high class, then they leave their soiled tissue on the table! Low class!!!

    • Things that get me mad! When people blow their nose in a restaurant, it seems that I can picture their snots while I am eating.NASTY!!! They act so high class, then they leave their soiled tissue on the table. low class idiots!

  20. Sammy says:

    Forget Fallon’s age; he acts like a silly, hyperactive, ADD-afflicted teenager who seems to be chronically starstruck by ANYBODY who guests on his show. He has zero interviewing skills (unless you call perpetual fawning an interviewing skill) and his jokes are beyond lame, both in delivery and content. Those skits he does seem to appeal to a younger audience (though males past 12 who find a skit like ‘Eww’ funny should seek therapy), but even that young audience will eventually get bored by those skits and move on to the next silly thing. Besides, there’s always SNL for that type of entertainment, albeit targeted more towards adults.

    Kimmel, on the other hand, is another category of host; he’s funny, has good joke writers, good comedic timing, often does hilarious and entertaining interviews (e.g. Rob Ford’s interview) and, perhaps most importantly, acts like he’s well past puberty as a man of his age should! He’s the next best thing to Leno and I also believe he’ll eventually be number one when (not if) the Fallon bubble bursts.

  21. Bill Smith says:

    Jimmy Fallon’s 3/19/2014 show was to use food as basket ball to hit the hoop. He didn’t know there are billions of the world are starving, and 1.6 billion even have no clean water. Does he need a little intelligence and love for humanity? You judge.

  22. Rich B says:

    Sometime in the next 3 months, Kimmel will surpass Fallon’s ratings.

    Jimmy Fallon seems like an OK guy but what a bore. You just can’t trust someone who literally believes and says how “awesome” and “great” everyone and everything is. He acts a guy who just ate a his first hit of ecstacy.

    If everything is equally awesome and great then he either has no taste or is a bald faced liar…

    Most people get turned off by B.S..

    • My sentiment’s exactly. But I wouldn’t be so sure about your opening sentence. Fallon’s mediocrity is the perfect continuation of what Leno did, and there were several million people who chose to subject themselves to Leno year after year. I don’t think Kimmel is going to change the dynamics much; he’s been around a long time and people have long ago made up their minds a to whether they prefer his program. The real solution to this rut is for someone to come up with a completely different format for the first time in 50 plus years and the convince some network exec to take a chance on it. I won’t count on that happening anytime soon.

  23. sammyglick says:

    LOL — looks like the Jay Leno defenders have nothing to say about Fallon success in not only keeping the ratings steady, but actually growing the show’s audience. Say what you will, but it really was time for Leno to step aside and let a new generation enjoy The Tonight Show.

    • Brad says:

      Fallon’s ratings falling each week isn’t really indicative of a growing fanbase. It’s too hard to say at this point how things will go in the long run. Since I’m not a fan of Fallon, I’m of course inclined to think he won’t last, but my vote is for Kimmel becoming the new leader in late night, he’s funny and has a great show.

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